Captain Sarfraz Ahmed celebrates with teammates after Pakistan’s sensational win at The Oval on Sunday
London: It was past midnight, on Sunday, but there still were around 50-60 Pakistan supporters outside The Grange City Hotel.
Besides in-house residents, only those identified by one of them were allowed entry. However, 10-15 fans somehow dodged the security screening and all made a beeline for Champions Trophy-winning captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
The 30-year-old is right on centre stage and will remain there till the euphoria subsides back in Pakistan.
Sarfraz had probably come to the lobby-cum-reception to clear his 11th-floor room bills.
Soon enough, though, it became tough for Sarfraz, for he had to deal with shrieks of "Sarfraz... Bhaijaan... Sarfraz" and oblige many with video-call messages.
Just once did Sarfraz get put off when somebody wrapped in the Pakistan flag requested him to "congratulate" his wife/fiancée for the Champions Trophy win.
"Main mubarakbaad doon? Aap bhi bhaijaan... Chalen, main kuch bol deta hoon," Sarfraz responded.
So, a global tournament-winning captain has to contend with a bizarre request too.
Later, Sarfraz smiled when The Telegraph asked if life would change.
"Sir, life kyon change hogi? Life toh chalti rehti hai... It hasn't sunk in yet, ek-do din lagega... Let me return home (Karachi) first," Sarfraz said.
When reminded that he'd done an Imran Khan, the only other Pakistan captain to win a 50-over global competition, Sarfraz commented: " Jo ho gaya so ho gaya... Final khatam ho gaya... Let people make comparisons and place me just where they like."
Sarfraz looks up to Imran as captain No.1. Among 'keepers, his favourite is fellow-Karachiite "Moin Khan."
Moin is a former captain of Pakistan and, at different times, has been given other responsibilities by the Board.
It's interesting, by the way, that 11 years ago, Sarfraz had become an U-19 World Cup-winning captain, defeating India even then (in Colombo).
Sarfraz and his men left for Dubai en route to Pakistan on a flight out of Heathrow on Monday morning.
As for India, the players are in London till Tuesday, when they head for the Caribbean. Two changes have been made, no more.
Postscript: The win has become sweeter for Sarfraz as experts, including Sourav Ganguly, chose him to captain the ICC's Team of the Champions Trophy.